Land clearing has begun at the site slated for the first Costco in St. Tammany Parish, a signal that construction of the 159,000-square-foot facility could be drawing near. The $45.8 million development will be located on Pinnacle Parkway near Covington within the footprint of the Nord du Lac shopping center.
Michael Vinsanau, a St. Tammany Parish government spokesperson said while a construction timeline is unclear, the existing buildings at the site have been demolished. And Chris Masingill, CEO of St. Tammany Corporation, the parish's economic development agency, said Costco is prepping the area for future construction.
“They like to be operational,” Masingill said, referencing Costco. “Anywhere from 14 to 16 months from the time that they broke ground. And so they’ve been lining everything up to do that. And this is part of that process,” he said.
The store, Costco's first on the north shore, was first announced in 2020. Costco currently also operates a store in New Orleans.
The move follows years of pushback against big-box stores at that site in the Covington area, including a 2006 lawsuit in which nearby homeowners tried to block plans for a Sam’s Club. A settlement of that suit banned the development of future big-box stores over 100,000 square feet for 50 years unless 51% of the 361 residents in a nearby subdivision, Flower Estates, agreed.
The residents ultimately supported the plans for the Costco.
In a news release last year, St. Tammany Corporation said the store will bring 75 full-time jobs with an average salary of just over $59,000 and 75 part-time jobs. It is expected to generate $60 million in new sales and property taxes over the next decade, according to the news release.
The Costco will be built near several other stores, including Kohl's and Academy Sports and Outdoors. It will be located next to a 13-acre site that the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, Our Lady of the Lake purchased in 2021 for a yet-to-be-built medical clinic.
Meanwhile, across Interstate 12 from Nord Du Lac is another shopping area, River Chase. A Sam's Club is also across Interstate 12.
To help relieve traffic congestion through the area, the state is in the process of adding lanes to I-12. The centerpiece of that project, additional lanes between U.S. 190 and Louisiana 21, including the bridge over the Tchefuncte River, is substantially completed.
Some residents worry that the Costco location will bring even more traffic congestion.
“Sam's [Club] is right across the highway on the interstate. They're both located right off the interstate. It’s just kind of ridiculous what they did,” said Doris Talley, who lives in Flower Estates.
“We are incredibly excited to see that construction is beginning on the new Costco on Pinnacle Parkway in Covington. We look forward to this great family-first company opening their doors, which will bring dozens of jobs and sales tax revenue to St. Tammany Parish,” St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper said.